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1.  Large G3BP-induced granules trigger eIF2α phosphorylation 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2012;23(18):3499-3510.
Increasing size of G3BP-induced stress granules is associated with a threshold or switch that must be triggered for eIF2α phosphorylation and subsequent translational repression to occur. Stress granules are active in signaling to the translational machinery and may be important regulators of the innate immune response.
Stress granules are large messenger ribonucleoprotein (mRNP) aggregates composed of translation initiation factors and mRNAs that appear when the cell encounters various stressors. Current dogma indicates that stress granules function as inert storage depots for translationally silenced mRNPs until the cell signals for renewed translation and stress granule disassembly. We used RasGAP SH3-binding protein (G3BP) overexpression to induce stress granules and study their assembly process and signaling to the translation apparatus. We found that assembly of large G3BP-induced stress granules, but not small granules, precedes phosphorylation of eIF2α. Using mouse embryonic fibroblasts depleted for individual eukaryotic initiation factor 2α (eIF2α) kinases, we identified protein kinase R as the principal kinase that mediates eIF2α phosphorylation by large G3BP-induced granules. These data indicate that increasing stress granule size is associated with a threshold or switch that must be triggered in order for eIF2α phosphorylation and subsequent translational repression to occur. Furthermore, these data suggest that stress granules are active in signaling to the translational machinery and may be important regulators of the innate immune response.
PMCID: PMC3442399  PMID: 22833567
2.  In Vitro Budding of Intralumenal Vesicles into Late Endosomes Is Regulated by Alix and Tsg101 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2008;19(11):4942-4955.
Endosomes along the degradation pathway leading to lysosomes accumulate membranes in their lumen and thus exhibit a characteristic multivesicular appearance. These lumenal membranes typically incorporate down-regulated EGF receptor destined for degradation, but the mechanisms that control their formation remain poorly characterized. Here, we describe a novel quantitative biochemical assay that reconstitutes the formation of lumenal vesicles within late endosomes in vitro. Vesicle budding into the endosome lumen was time-, temperature-, pH-, and energy-dependent and required cytosolic factors and endosome membrane components. Our light and electron microscopy analysis showed that the compartment supporting the budding process was accessible to endocytosed bulk tracers and EGF receptor. We also found that the EGF receptor became protected against trypsin in our assay, indicating that it was sorted into the intraendosomal vesicles that were formed in vitro. Our data show that the formation of intralumenal vesicles is ESCRT-dependent, because the process was inhibited by the K173Q dominant negative mutant of hVps4. Moreover, we find that the ESCRT-I subunit Tsg101 and its partner Alix control intralumenal vesicle formation, by acting as positive and negative regulators, respectively. We conclude that budding of the limiting membrane toward the late endosome lumen, which leads to the formation of intraendosomal vesicles, is controlled by the positive and negative functions of Tsg101 and Alix, respectively.
PMCID: PMC2575168  PMID: 18768755
3.  From Function to Shape: A Novel Role of a Formin in Morphogenesis of the Fungus Ashbya gossypiiV⃞ 
Molecular Biology of the Cell  2006;17(1):130-145.
Morphogenesis of filamentous ascomycetes includes continuously elongating hyphae, frequently emerging lateral branches, and, under certain circumstances, symmetrically dividing hyphal tips. We identified the formin AgBni1p of the model fungus Ashbya gossypii as an essential factor in these processes. AgBni1p is an essential protein apparently lacking functional overlaps with the two additional A. gossypii formins that are nonessential. Agbni1 null mutants fail to develop hyphae and instead expand to potato-shaped giant cells, which lack actin cables and thus tip-directed transport of secretory vesicles. Consistent with the essential role in hyphal development, AgBni1p locates to tips, but not to septa. The presence of a diaphanous autoregulatory domain (DAD) indicates that the activation of AgBni1p depends on Rho-type GTPases. Deletion of this domain, which should render AgBni1p constitutively active, completely changes the branching pattern of young hyphae. New axes of polarity are no longer established subapically (lateral branching) but by symmetric divisions of hyphal tips (tip splitting). In wild-type hyphae, tip splitting is induced much later and only at much higher elongation speed. When GTP-locked Rho-type GTPases were tested, only the young hyphae with mutated AgCdc42p split at their tips, similar to the DAD deletion mutant. Two-hybrid experiments confirmed that AgBni1p interacts with GTP-bound AgCdc42p. These data suggest a pathway for transforming one axis into two new axes of polar growth, in which an increased activation of AgBni1p by a pulse of activated AgCdc42p stimulates additional actin cable formation and tip-directed vesicle transport, thus enlarging and ultimately splitting the polarity site.
PMCID: PMC1345653  PMID: 16236798

Results 1-3 (3)